‘I don’t know what they’re at’ – Healy-Rae on latest Covid-19 restrictions

When asked about recent current affairs in Ireland, particularly the response of the governmental figures to such events, independent TD Danny Healy-Rae simply says: “I don’t know what they’re at.”

He says this in response to two things: recent chaos over the resignations of Dara Calleary and Phil Hogan; and the latest Covid-19 restrictions, particularly in regards to pubs.

Yesterday (Thursday, August 27) at a Department of Health briefing, the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) could not see pubs that do not serve food being reopened next week as an option.

Healy-Rae said that “after all rural Ireland has endured, one thing after the next is just going to finish it”.

“I’m very worried the government will enforce more restrictions; I don’t know what they’re [members of government] at. I know there are so many publicans that want to open and people in rural Ireland are looking forward to meeting people again, having conversations over a couple of drinks.

They’re being denied that – and it’s completely unnecessary and I don’t believe it would have any bearing on the spread of the virus if they were open.

“After all that has happened and all that rural Ireland has endured, this is just another huge blow.

“I’m fearing people won’t be the same after all this.”

The deputy said he feels what the government is getting “badly wrong” is allowing travel, even if it is restricted with quarantine rules in place.

‘It’s very concerning for farmers what they’ve seen’

Healy-Rae said it is “very concerning for farmers” seeing both Dara Calleary and Phil Hogan resign within the last week, following the mounting pressure from the fallout of their attendance at the Oireachtas Golf Society event.

“This is shocking like; no one could make it up,” the deputy said about the resignations.

He said his hope is that the next minister will be “from a rural county”.

To be fair, and this is not in any way discriminatory, people who come from areas of good land and in the good counties have several different options for farming, whether it being grain, dairy and so on.

“The places I’m looking at, farmers are tied to sucklers and sheep and that’s really it.

“These farmers need assistance and need someone who was brought up in that kind of county to understand what’s needed to help those people and to know what they’re up against.

“It’s a terror I’ve to start with a new minister again raising issues.”

The deputy added that although he was “never an admirer of Phil Hogan”, who has resigned from the role of European Commissioner for Trade, he is “worried on behalf of the people of Ireland trying to farm that they may lose some of the benefits they were to have”.